New population figures highlight cavernous housing deficit

  • Revised population projections released today by the Office for National Statistics show the population of the UK growing by 6.6 million people from 2021 to 2036. Net migration accounts for 6.1 million, or 92%, of this increase 
  • Across this 15 year period, net migration is projected to average 405,000 per annum – falling from current record highs and settling around 315,000 per annum from 2028
  • Even this 315,000 per annum figure is a 29% increase on the previous average of 245,000, and higher than any year before 2021
  • Previous CPS analysis has examined the implications of record net migration for housing requirements in England, based on Government methodology used to calculate housebuilding targets
  • Applying this methodology to the today’s ONS population figures suggests that we will need to build at least 5.7 million homes in England over 15 years, with net migration accounting for 41% of this figure (2.34 million homes)
  • Meeting that figure means building on average 382,000 homes per annum from 2021 to 2036 – well above the Government’s original target of 300,000 per annum, and 60% higher than the current rate of 240,000 (2022-23)
  • This is on top of the deficit from decades of under-building. The CPS calculated in November that there had been a deficit of 1.34 million homes over the last decade, compensating for which would drive housing targets up even higher


Responding to the figures, Karl Williams, CPS Research Director, said:

‘Once again ONS figures illustrate the failure of successive governments to take control of immigration and tackle the housing crisis.

‘For decades, we have failed to build enough new homes to meet demand from those already living in the UK and record net migration has only exacerbated the problem. The Government needs to deliver on its promise to bring migration down and do more to tackle the country’s cavernous housing deficit by facilitating housebuilding right across the country – greenfield and brownfield, urban and rural, north and south.’




  • Karl Williams is Research Director at the Centre for Policy Studies.
  • Previous analysis of the impact of net migration and housing was published by the CPS in November 2023 and is available to download here.
  • Karl Williams is available for interview. For further information, please contact Josh Coupland on 07912 485655 and [email protected].
  • The Centre for Policy Studies is one of the oldest and most influential think tanks in Westminster. With a focus on taxation, economic growth, business, welfare, education, housing and green growth, its goal is to develop policies that widen enterprise, ownership and opportunity.

Date Added: Tuesday 30th January 2024